Hong Kong may be one of the world’s great cities – with towering skyscrapers and endless shopping malls – but beyond the bright lights, a host of hiking opportunities await.
There’s so much more to Hong Kong than its urban landscape. Sure, you can enjoy a junk boat ride on the beautiful harbour or ride the Peak Tram to Victoria Peak for breathtaking views over the harbour without leaving the city, but it is worth heading a little further afield to the fringes of the city where you’ll find lush, green countryside, pristine beaches and rustic islands waiting to be explored.
Hong Kong’s great outdoors
Away from the cityscapes hugging Victoria Harbour, more than 70 per cent of Hong Kong is comprised of nature reserves: parks, beaches, wetlands and marine reserves. This means that there are plenty of opportunities to get back to nature.
Hiking trails in Hong Kong
Because the city is so compact, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy the wilderness. In fact, some of the city’s top hiking trails are located on Hong Kong Island, easily accessible by public bus.
- Dragon’s Back, Hong Kong’s best urban hike
- The Peak, with epic views of Victoria Harbour
- Sunset Peak, for end-of-day drama
- High Junk Peak, for vistas over Clear Water Bay
- Lion Rock, to test your legs up 495 metres
Dragon’s Back Hike
Dragon’s Back is probably the best-known hike in Hong Kong. The trail follows a stunning ridge in southeastern Hong Kong Island. The ridge sweeps down to a fishing village in Shek O Country Park. You’ll wander through groves of bamboo and woodland before emerging to open hillsides blanketed with wild azaleas and rose myrtle. Then take in unbroken views over Clear Water Bay, Stanley and Hong Kong’s eastern islands.
The walk ends at Shek O where cheap-and-cheerful seafood stalls sell grilled octopus and bottles of ice-cold beer. You’ll be rewarded with a dazzling beach to take a dip at the end of your hike in Hong Kong.
Walk Hong Kong tours
Dragon’s Back can be done independently but guided hikes are also available with Walk Hong Kong. The group’s popular ‘Deserted Beaches Hike’ takes you to some of the New Territories’ prettiest stretches of sand, exploring the uplands and coasts of remote Sai Kung.
Here, lush tropical vegetation and forested ridges give way to spectacular views of white sandy beaches, many of which you’ll have entirely to yourself.
Sai Kung hiking
To reach these awesome beaches you’ll hike through old Hakka villages. Here, farmers once nurtured ‘feng shui woods’ to preserve local flora and fauna. In the same neighbourhood, Walk Hong Kong’s ‘Geopark Hiking Tour’ takes you along Sai Kung East Country Park, home to a volcanic column wall that is one of the world’s largest examples of hexagonal columnar jointing.
If you want to extend your hike, visit the New Territories’ Mai Po Nature Reserve, home to an astounding 380 species of birds, 35 of which are of global conservation concern including the Saunders’ gull and the black-faced spoonbill.
Best time to hike in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is suitable for hikers from November to June. July to October is Typhoon season. Winter is from December to February with a temperature of around 16 to 18 degrees Celsius. Summer spans from June to August with top temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius so if you are hiking at this time remember to carry plenty of water.
Hong Kong Global Geopark
North-east of the city, you’ll find the UNESCO-listed Hong Kong Global Geopark. The naturally and culturally significant geological wonder spans 50 square kilometres of coastline with many fantastic walking trails.
The park has eight significant natural sites including islands, sea caves and uniquely shaped cliffs and volcanic rocks that date back 400 million years ago. There are two distinct regions, Sai Kung Peninsula’s volcanic rock region, and Northeast New Territories’ sedimentary rock region.
Tai Long Wan
The breathtakingly beautiful Tai Long Wan (also known as Ham Tin Wan) is a bay on the east coast of the Sai Kung Peninsula. The area is a little harder to reach but it’s well worth the effort for the jaw-dropping views of crystal-clear waters. The Tai Long Wan Hiking Trail is a three-hour point-to-point trail along four beaches, Tai Long Village and through green forests.
The currents can be treacherous so take care when swimming.
If you prefer to explore on wheels, rent a bike to cycle along the dam of Plover Cove Reservoir at Tai Mei Tuk or along one of Hong Kong’s many great mountain bike trails.
This article was created in partnership with DiscoverHongKong.com
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